James Brooks

James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Alaska Legislature OKs increase to rural power subsidy

By: - May 16, 2022

Residents of 194 rural Alaska towns and villages will get more of their monthly power bill subsidized by the state if Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs legislation approved Monday by the Alaska House of Representatives.  On Monday, the state House voted 38-2 to increase the maximum subsidy allowed under the state’s Power Cost Equalization program. The […]

Alaska House approves major update to alcohol laws, including changes for breweries

By: - May 15, 2022

The president of the Alaska Brewers Guild held his head in his hands, the Senate president laughed and smiled, and the head of Alaska’s largest alcohol trade organization exchanged high-fives with lawmakers as the Alaska House decisively ended 10 years of struggle by passing a sweeping reform of the state’s alcohol laws. “I think we’re […]

Alaska House rejects $5,500 payout, sends budget to negotiating committee

By: - May 14, 2022

After three days of delay and doubt about the outcome, the Alaska House of Representatives turned down a Senate-written budget containing $5,500 payments for eligible Alaskans. Those opposed to the budget cited concerns about spending exceeding revenue. The House’s 18-22 vote against the Senate proposal means two different plans will now go to a six-member […]

Alaska House proposes naming new bridge after Don Young

By: - May 13, 2022

Alaska’s longest single-span bridge would be named after former Congressman Don Young under legislation passed Wednesday by the Alaska House of Representatives. The House voted 36-2 to name the planned Juneau Creek bridge on the Sterling Highway after Young, who died earlier this year after 49 years in office. Reps. Ron Gillham, R-Kenai, and David […]

Alaska Senate approves bill formally recognizing Native tribes

By: - May 13, 2022

Alaska’s state government would formally recognize all of Alaska’s 229 federally recognized tribes under legislation passed Friday by the state Senate in a 15-0 vote. If signed into law by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the measure will be mostly ceremonial. Lawmakers said it nonetheless represents an opportunity to respect Alaska Natives and tribal organizations that have […]

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Thomas Matthews hears arguments on Zoom in a lawsuit against the Alaska Redistricting Board on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Attorney Eva Gardner represents a group of Girdwood residents seeking to overturn a map of state senate districts. Attorney Matthew Singer is representing the board. (Screenshot)

Attorney asks judge to throw out Republican-supported map of Anchorage state Senate districts

By: - May 13, 2022

A group of Girdwood residents seeking to overturn a proposed map of state Senate districts in Anchorage has presented new evidence of possible collusion among Republican-appointed members of the Alaska Redistricting Board. Citing text messages and emails obtained from board members, the group’s attorney told a state judge on Thursday that the board had an […]

Alaska House contemplates a multibillion-dollar gamble on oil prices to pay $5,500 per Alaskan

By: - May 12, 2022

Leading members of the Alaska House of Representatives said on Thursday that the House appears ready to approve a Senate-passed budget that would pay $5,500 this year to eligible Alaskans. They cautioned that the situation remains in flux and could change quickly. On Wednesday and Thursday, Speaker of the House Louise Stutes canceled scheduled votes […]

a crowd holding up Democratic campaign signs for Pat Chesbro

Retired teacher becomes lone Democrat in Alaska’s U.S. Senate election

By: - May 11, 2022

Pat Chesbro, a retired teacher and educator from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, entered Alaska’s U.S. Senate race on Wednesday, becoming the lone Democrat among 16 candidates for the office. The deadline to enter the race is June 1. Chesbro replaces state Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, D-Anchorage, who launched a campaign earlier this year but withdrew after financial […]

After U.S. Supreme Court opinion leaks, Alaska governor candidates share their thoughts

By: - May 11, 2022

One week ago, the political news website Politico published a bombshell report saying that the U.S. Supreme Court is prepared to overturn prior rulings that uphold the legal right to an abortion. Here in Alaska, the state supreme court has repeatedly ruled that the privacy clause of the Alaska Constitution protects abortion access. Even if […]

two senators facing each other in the Alaska Senate chambers

Alaska Senate approves $5,500 payout to Alaskans, but it’s not final yet

By: - May 11, 2022

Alaskans will receive $5,500 and could get it as soon as July if the Alaska House agrees with a budget proposal approved Tuesday afternoon by the state Senate. Senators voted 15-5 to approve what would be the fifth-largest budget in state history and sent the draft to the House for agreement.  If the House rejects […]

A sample ballot for the 2022 Alaska special U.S. House race is seen on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)

FAQ: How to vote by mail this year

By: - May 11, 2022

Forty-eight candidates are competing to temporarily represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives after the sudden death of Congressman Don Young. In a June 11 special primary and an Aug. 16 special general election, voters will pick one person to represent the state in the House from September through January. Beginning in January, the […]

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Monday, May 2, 2022 in Juneau, Alaska. (James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)

Scholarship fund’s fate depends on Alaska Legislature

By: - May 11, 2022

The Alaska House of Representatives has voted to refill the fund with hundreds of millions of dollars in expected oil revenue, but unless lawmakers also change the language of the state law that created the fund, it will be automatically drained again.